HC Deb 29 June 1971 vol 820 cc195-6
Q1. Mr. Deakins

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Prime Minister of Sweden to pay an official visit to Great Britain.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

Mr. Palme would always be welcome in this country but there are at present no plans for a visit.

Mr. Deakins

At any such meeting, will the right hon. Gentleman be able to give the Swedish Prime Minister an assurance that in no circumstances would this country countenance the re-erection of trade barriers between Britain and Sweden?

The Prime Minister

The Swedes are responsible for their own negotiations with the E.E.C. They have been having discussions, as the hon. Gentleman knows. As I understand it, they are working out the sort of arrangements they want. The undertaking which every E.F.T.A. country gave to the others on 28th April, 1967, was that, if one of them wanted to join the E.E.C., there should be reasonable opportunity for the others to have a period in which they could work out transitional arrangements. As I said after my meeting in Paris with President Pompidou, we agreed that it was undesirable that where trade barriers had been reduced they should now be erected again.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that comparison between this country and Sweden is not very helpful, as Sweden is not only a neutral country but one which has special need to look after the minority in Finland, which has already been threatened by the Soviet Union were Sweden to attempt to enter the E.E.C?

The Prime Minister

I think it has been widely recognised, and successive Governments in Sweden have always emphasised, that their political policy of neutrality provided certain difficulties in relation to full membership of the E.E.C. But, having always stated that policy, they have always understood that a form of association could be negotiated for them, and that, I understand, is what is happening now.

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